Ahead of Election Day, a push to boost voter turnout and civic engagement amongst students is underway

Volunteers+of+Generation+Z+Leading+the+Vote+helping+register+students+at+Spellmann+Center+on+National+Voter+Registration+Day+%28Sept.+22%29.

Instagram: @genzleadingthevoteproject_lu

Volunteers of Generation Z Leading the Vote helping register students at Spellmann Center on National Voter Registration Day (Sept. 22).

Daniel Bell-Nguyen, Reporter

An effort titled “Generation Z Leading the Vote” is working to increase voter turnout and create civil political dialogue amongst Lindenwood students ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

“Generation Z Leading the Vote” is a student and faculty-based initiative designed to inform and involve people in the political process, specifically Lindenwood students.

Barbara Hosto-Marti, an assistant professor of political science and faculty advisor for “Generation Z Leading the Vote”, said the program received a grant from the Missouri Foundation of Health from June to November, to help spread awareness to students regarding voting and issues of the 2020 election.

“It can be very frustrating, especially if you don’t understand the electoral process to vote,” Hosto-Marti said. “We would like to see people more engaged, having respectful and civil conversations about politics… and we’d like to see students participate and make their opinions known.”

Throughout the semester, “Generation Z Leading the Vote” has held panel discussion events to discuss political issues and has helped register students to vote on campus.

Eleanor Kast, a program volunteer and political science student at Lindenwood, said she wants potential voters to know that local candidates and issues are also important, not just the choice for president.

“I would 100 percent say that local candidates and issues are just as important, if not more important than the presidential election,” Kast said. “Local officials will more directly impact your life in a lot more ways than people realize going from schools to taxes, and a lot of other things that are a lot more directly felt by the everyday citizen.”

Hosto-Marti said one of the important issues on the ballot this November will be Amendment Three in the state of Missouri, an issue of redistricting and lobbying limitations in the state.

“[Amendment Three] will change the way districts are organized, so it will influence who you will get to vote for,” Hosto-Marti said. “So if you don’t vote, there is very little incentive for the people making the decisions to pay attention to you.”

Hosto-Marti said she recommends the website, Ballotpedia, to research all of the ballot measures and the presidential, congressional and local candidates before voting.

“Generation Z Leading the Vote” will be hosting an event called “Authentic Communication: Bridging the Divides” on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. that will be discussing how to have friendly debates with those with differing political views and how to find common ground.

Kast said she believes it’s important for students to have their voices heard on Election Day on Nov. 3.

“Voting is your most basic right in a democracy and it is super important for everyone to express that right and to be able to have a say in the political system,” Kast said.

For more information on “Generation Z Leading the Vote”, follow its Twitter and Instagram page.